13'' or 15'' rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by brenm666, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. brenm666 macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    Hi all,

    I'm an engineering student and I am currently thorn between the 13'' and the 15''. I'm using my current 15'' 2010 MBP as my everyday computer, so I am doing a bit of everything (web surfing, movies, a bit of gaming, VM when I need to for Win-only eng. apps, etc.)

    Here is what I am looking at right now.
    1) 13'' 2.8 Dual i7/16GB/512GB w/ AppleCare
    2) 15'' 2.3 Quad i7/16GB/512GB w/ AppleCare

    There's a 400$ difference between the two. Are the Quad-core and the Iris Pro worth it?
    Is the 16GB overkilling it (I'm mainly getting it to make it future-proof)?
    Anyone previously went from 15'' to 13'' and had trouble adjusting to it?
    Never got AppleCare before, is it worth it? I've also never had a problem with a Mac before... And at 200/260$ I am not sure it's worth it...

    Any thoughts?
  2. Breedlove macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2006
    It's easy to hit the 8GB mark with just one VM running. I was an engineering major for a bit and I'd say that 16GB is a safer bet. Even now, as a law student, I'm going to opt for the upgrade just because I still dabble with virtualizations and what not (albeit on the very rare occasion).

    Also, I had AppleCare on my current machine (17in early-2009 MBP) and never used it once. I would say that I am rough with my laptop (more so in the past year). Almost 5 years of ownership now (2 without AppleCare) and still no problems.

    This time around, I'm personally forgoing the AppleCare and spending that to upgrade to 16GB and a better processor. Just my two-cents.

    Also going from 17in to 13in and I know I will love it.
  3. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    tbh, i'm running Parallels for work and I was fine on 8GB of Ram before, albeit everything was a bit laggy on windows side. regardless, i'm not the type of person who even likes parallels.

    Mavericks is supposed to be really good at compressing memory though, so 8gb of ram is more like 12gb of ram. for my usage, i'm going to trust apple because i'm not looking to go BTO and want to just walk into a store and buy it.
  4. brenm666 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    So are the Quad-core and Iris Pro worth 400$?
  5. Illusion986 macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
  6. doubleaa macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2011
    You're also getting the NVIDIA 750M dGPU for that extra $400. It's worth it unless you just want a smaller laptop. I'm about to pull the trigger on 13" i5 2.6 / 512 GB / 16 GB because I prefer the smaller footprint. I wish the quad core and Iris Pro were offered on the 13". That would be my perfect laptop.

    I wouldn't bother with Apple Care.
  7. brenm666 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    I wouldn't take the top 15'' so I am not getting the GT750M, but I do get the Iris Pro (on the 13'' I am "only" getting Iris Graphics).

    I guess no AppleCare then?

    EDIT : Never mind what I said about the Iris, turns out I was building the top 15'' anyway... lol
  8. REM314 macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    Your quoted triple upgraded (clock, RAM, SSD) base model will be the same price as the high end 15'' though.
  9. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    I just went from a 2010 17" MBP to the 13" rMBP, so I can at least make some statements about the size concerns.

    It's small. It's a very small screen and that is going to be noticeable, even coming from the 15" (but especially from the 17"). To be honest, if I had less concern about portability I'd say the 15" is almost certainly a "better" size for most situations.

    But there's absolutely no denying just how portable this 13" rMBP is. It's basically the "Air Pro" when you consider its similar weight (~0.5 lbs heavier) and even smaller footprint.

    On the plus side it can go into a small bag without bringing the weight up much, be easily used on the smallest pull-out desks, things like that. In fact when it's actually on a desk or table is when the small screen has the least negative impact since you can comfortably bring it fairly close. When you're in a non-traditional position (sitting on a floor, bed, or just with the machine on your lap) then it's going to be a bit farther away and you may feel like the screen is fairly small for the distance.

    If you have any friends who have 13" machines (maybe an Air or an older MBP) I'd suggest getting them to let you spend a little time with the form factor to see how you feel. My situation is that I need a small, light machine that can go everywhere with me for the next full year, however I intend to switch to the 15" after the Broadwell refresh when (assuming my plans don't change) my daily routine should settle down quite a bit.

    As far as performance, the single core benchmarks are fairly similar. The quad core chips seem to be slightly faster even at lower clocks, which is almost certainly a matter of TDP, but it's close. The real performance differences only appear when you use more than two cores, and how often you do this depends on your software. Anything that does long number crunching operations should be properly multi-threaded these days and be able to use all four cores, but I'm not in engineering so I don't actually know much about the software involved. Obviously under optimal situations you can see 2x the CPU performance, but again this only applies when the software can use all of the cores simultaneously.

    (edit) A note about the value of relative performance: In my case I'm also getting a solid performance bump moving from the 17" to go along with the extreme portability (~40-50% CPU bump, nearly 3x GPU performance). If you're coming from a more recent (Sandy+) machine you won't see nearly as much of an improvement going to the 13".
  10. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Great post. I tested out both sizes months back at the Apple store and came away vastly preferring the 13-inch form factor. I ordered a 13-inch yesterday without hesitant.

    There is more differences than just screen size, IMO. I prefer the ergonomics of the 13.
  11. brenm666 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    Thank you Atomic Walrus!

    For now, I'm leaning towards the 15'', probably the one with the GT750M dGPU. I'm going to go to the Apple Store to see if I could live with the 13'', but probably not. :p
  12. doubleaa macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2011
    Agreed. This is the sole reason I chose the 13". It's much more comfortable to use, especially sitting with it on your lap.
  13. brenm666 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 30, 2010
    Hey all,

    Finally got the 15'' with the dGPU. Pretty happy for now, I do love the screen! (got to try the 13'', but it was definitively too small).

    Also, just a random tip, if you are getting a new Mac, do get the ethernet adapter. With the Migration Assistant over Wifi, it was going to take about 150 hrs (yes, thats like 6 days...) to transfer my whole 500GB HDD (at least 80% full). I restarted my router and went by Ethernet instead, it took less than 2hrs. And I guess that with a Thunderbolt it would go even faster!
  14. aiyaaabatt macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2013
    thunderbolt = minutes.

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